IUGB students asking for the grading system this semester to be PASS/FAIL
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International University of Grand Bassam students kindly ask the university to consider an OPTIONAL temporary change in our grading system. Given the unforeseen circumstances of the COVID-19 and the sudden switch to online classes, we would like to have the option of receiving a pass/fail grade. Some universities have already established this change, while others allow students to decide which system they prefer. Some of those schools include: Northwestern University, MIT, Smith College, Georgetown University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Vanderbilt University.
We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, and we all are adapting to sudden changes. But the emotional consequences the Coronavirus is having on many of the students will most likely jeopardize our learning and consequentially our performance. Unfortunately, isolation can be an anxiety-provoking factor, especially for students who are easily distracted at home or by online learning platforms. We believe that having the option of a pass/fail grading system will lessen the stress and allow us to better engage in our classes and ultimately be able to learn more. Additionally, if the pass/fail system is an option, it respects both the students who are comfortable maintaining a letter grade and the students who believe a pass/fail system would help them through this stressful situation.
This semester was a roller coaster of events. The students were repeatedly psychologically overwhelmed. (Instability in the country, coronavirus, containment). With the containment, many will not be at the usual levels at which they are in the appropriate conditions. De facto, we students will have lower grades than we should have had in class ... the grades will be lowered and therefore the GPA will be heavily affected. To work in these conditions for some may seem normal but for the majority of us, this system shakes us up. Whether it's videoconferencing, working online, self-managing, review programs, missing courses, we won't be able to get the grades we should have had. I make a point of saying it because it is a reality for many of our classmates. To overcome this exceptional situation, I reflected with the president, to find a solution that could help the students in this chopped semester. After several research, we discovered how American universities were able to adapt to this major crisis. Concordia, MIT, and even George Town university have opted for a Fail / Pass grading system. For example, a person can only pass or fail, the grades no longer exist, the ones who want to keep their grades can if not those who feel disadvantaged by the crisis can apply to be pass or fail. If a student was unable to get the scores they wanted and was distracted, prevented or other reasons during confinement, they may want to be graded PASS like this, it will not affect their overall GPA. This may seem exceptional to some but in times like now, it is imperative that we can find solutions so that our GPA or grades come out unscathed. We are all going to do a Master, or whatever, do you think that this semester will not greatly affect your GPA, if yes you do not need to change anything, but for those who have difficulties online (majority) we must find solutions to overcome
a student has his grade so he knows if he is passing or not. Now he can simply decide to remove the grade and choose the PASS score which will not affect his GPA overall. Whoever wants to keep his rank can do it, who considers himself disadvantaged by this exceptional situation can then choose the PASS situation. For the student who fails the same principle apply and their overall GPA is not affected but they don't have the credits.
For example, if I have C- in biology. Normally biology is done in class and it is already difficult, the teacher is the one who can help me understand. With confinement, I do not understand I send email but I do badly in quizzes and homework. Finally, at the end of the semester I have C-, my GPA falls, I can decide to simply keep the PASS, I have my credits but the grade does not affect my overall GPA.
We thank the IUGB administration for taking our suggestion into consideration
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